English Language & Literature
Footprints Without Feet
Chapter 7: The Necklace
‘The Necklace’ is a touching story of a pretty lady named Matilda by Guy de Maupassant. He was a popular writer of his times very aptly remembered for his short stories with real life situations. In this particular story, the main character Mme Matilda is married to a clerk named M. Loisel. She was very dissatisfied in her life because of her ‘poverty’. Once she borrowed a necklace from her friend Madame Forestier and lost it in the party. To replace the necklace, she had to live a very hard and miserable life. The tale is about how her desire to have luxurious life, lead to her ruin.
Matilda was born in a poor family. She was married to a clerk. She suffered a lot as she felt that she had been born for better things. All day, she would be day dreaming of luxurious houses, dainty dinners, elegant dresses and beautiful jewellery.
One fine day, her husband came home very happy. He had an invitation to a ball for both of them from the Minister’s house. He thought his wife would be happy, but she got angry and threw the invitation card on the table. On being asked why she reacted in such a manner, she replied that she did not have any pretty dress for the party. Her loving husband gave her all the money he had set aside to buy a gun.
When the dress was ready, Matilda’s husband saw that still she was not happy. On being asked the reason, she said that she had no jewels. Exasperated, her husband asked her to wear fresh flowers. When she refused to do so, in desperation he told her to borrow jewellery from her dear friend — Mrs. Forestier. Matilda borrowed a diamond necklace from her. She was a great hit at the party. Everyone admired her. She danced till 4 a.m. and then went home tired but happy.
On reaching home, she decided to take a final look at herself. She was terribly shocked when she found the necklace was missing. The couple looked everywhere for it, but it was nowhere to be found. They went to the police and also put an advertisement in the papers. In the meantime, they wrote to Madame Forestier that the clasp was broken and also that they would get the necklace repaired and return it.
When the necklace was not found, they decided to replace it with a similar necklace. They bought it for thirty six thousand Francs, and had to take a loan for it.
In order to repay the loan, they took a rented room and turned away the maid. All the household work was done by Matilda. Mr. Loisel took up overtime work to save money. This life continued for almost ten long years, by the end of which Mrs. Loisel looked old, worn out and scruffy.
One day she happened to meet Mrs. Forestier who still looked young. Matilda told her the whole story.
Shocked at the story, Mrs. Forestier told her a shocking truth i.e. the diamond necklace that she had lent to Matilda had been made of artificial diamonds and was worth only five hundred francs.